Art history explores the historical connections between cultural production and society and engages in the critical analysis of art and visual culture. The Art History Program offers training in the perception, analysis, and understanding of art and images. It uses critical approaches to investigate their aesthetic, cultural, historical, political, and theoretical impact within and beyond a particular society. Housed in the Ames School of Art but inherently transdisciplinary in nature, the Art History Program draws on faculty expertise in several Illinois Wesleyan departments.
The Art History Minor
The art history minor is open to all undergraduates and requires a minimum of five course units. One of these units must be ART 115 and two of the remaining four units must be at the 300-level. Students must earn a C or higher in courses applied toward the art history minor.
ART 115 Introduction to Art History
This course explores the relationship between artistic production and audience in a historical and global context. Students will focus on select works of art to develop the ability to engage visual texts in an analytical and critical manner. Course includes visits to campus galleries and collections. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered each spring.
ART 116 Survey of Asian Art
An introduction to the visual cultures of South and Southeast Asia, Inner Asia, and East Asia from the ancient to the modern and contemporary period. The course explores artistic traditions, materials, media, techniques, and genres, situating objects and monuments in their social, historical, and ritual context, and highlighting the artistic exchange of Buddhist art across Asia. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for the categories of The Arts and Encountering Global Diversity (AR, G). Offered occasionally.
ART 209 Myth, Image, and Symbol in South Asian Religion
An investigation of the interrelationship among textual and non-textual forms of religious expression in South Asian religion. Readings from Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions will be correlated with images and symbols drawn from sculpture, painting, dance, and film. The course is cross-listed with IS/REL 209 and fulfills the General Education requirements for the categories of The Arts and Encountering Global Diversity (AR, G). Offered occasionally.
ART 307 The Art and Archaeology of Greek Myth
Myths and rituals constitute the religion of ancient Greece, and are expressed in art, monuments, and in writing. The culture, ideas, and values imparted through the varied expressions of Greek myths influenced Western thought in a profound and lasting way. In this course we will study the intimate relationship between myth, art, history, and culture of ancient Greece. The course is cross-listed with GRS 307 and fulfills the General Education requirement for The Arts category (AR). Offered occasionally, May Term. Recommended prereq: GRS 210.
ART 309 Greek Art from Homer to Alexander
A survey of cultural artifacts and monuments of ancient Greece from the “Age of Homer” (Bronze Age) to the “Age of Alexander” (Hellenistic Period). The goal is to develop an understanding and appreciation of Greek artistic expression, its influences, and its impact on Western art and thought. Course includes a field trip. The course is cross-listed with GRS 309 and fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered in alternate years, fall.
ART 311 Art And Architecture Of The Roman World
This course follows the development of the forms and ideologies of Roman art from the republic to late antiquity. The issues to be discussed will include public and private and civic and religious art and architecture, urban planning, and the interaction of Roman art forms and provincial cultures in the forging of identity. The course is cross-listed with GRS/HIST 311 and fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered occasionally.
ART 316 European Art, 1750-1900
An examination of the painting & sculpture, and graphic art produced in Europe and the United States from the mid-eighteenth century through the 1860s. Special attention will be given to neoclassicism, romanticism, and realism, concluding with the changes suggested by the revolutionary painting of Edouard Manet. Offered in alternate years.
ART 320 Modern Art
The course surveys the major developments in international art and design from the late nineteenth to the mid twentieth century. Key topics include medium specificity, mass-produced design and consumer culture, avant-gardism, abstraction, the movements and trends of postimpressionism and expressionism, cubism and futurism, constructivism and the bauhaus, dada and surrealism, and international developments following World War II. Familiarity with art history is not required. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for The Arts category (AR). Offered each fall.
ART 322 Contemporary Art
A critical survey of art since the 1960s with particular emphasis on the strategies of artistic practices and art’s social engagement. Course themes will address minimalism, conceptual art, postminimalism, happenings, critical theory, feminist art theory, institutional critique, postmodernism, multimedia, collaborative, and ephemeral projects, cultural globalism and transnational artists. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for for the categories of The Arts and Encountering Global Diversity (AR, G). Offered each spring.
ART 355 African Expressive Arts
This course introduces students to a variety of African expressive art forms in historical particularist and cross-cultural perspective. Artists, scholars, and performers, who specialize in specific African media will share their expertise in lecture-demonstrations and workshops, providing students with hands-on learning experiences. The course is cross-listed with ANTH 355 and fulfills the General Education requirements for the categories of The Arts and Encountering Global Diversity (AR, G). Offered alternate years in May Term.
ART 370 Special Topics in Art History
May vary in content with each offering. The central focus may be on one or more art movements, particular artistic problems or concepts, time periods or geographical locations which are more or less narrowly defined, or on the work of an individual artist. Each course offering under this title bears a subtitle which indicates the specific subject matter and the type of course experience that is planned. May be repeated for credit if course content is not duplicated. Offered occasionally.
ART 399 Art Seminar
A seminar on a theme in art and visual culture, open to all upper-level undergraduates and required of seniors in the School of Art. Topics will vary, and the course may be repeated for credit. The seminar is research-focused and fulfills the General Education requirements for a Writing Intensive course (W). Offered each fall.
ART 450 Advanced Studies in Art History
The seminar topic varies with each offering and may include a specified historical moment or group of artists, methodological trends or conceptual problems in the field. The seminar combines discussion and presentation, research and writing. The course fulfills the General Education requirements for a Writing Intensive course (W). Offered occasionally.